I try to use natural cleaning products whenever possible in my home. The one that is nearest and dearest to my heart – by far – is white vinegar. There are so many uses for the stuff, it’s really no wonder I find myself buying the double-humongo bottles from our local club store about every other month for like $3 (I’m kidding, it’s a little more than that, but still a steal when you think about all the vinegar you’re getting).
I went on a little vinegar binge last week, cleaning every thing in sight, so I thought I would share my top five favorite ways to use vinegar:
1. Cleaning wood floors. We refinished our old floors a year or so ago and the professional that came to do it confirmed what I had heard from others: oil soap is one of the worst things you can use on your hardwood floors. We use about a cup of vinegar in a bucketful of warm water (not very scientific, I know, but I think the correct proportion is ½ cup vinegar to one gallon water). It’s great for cutting grease and grime on the floors and now that I have a little crawler, it’s safe for her, even if she licks it.
2. Refreshing the Coffee Maker. When we got married seven years ago, we got a fabulous coffee maker with a thermal pot. The thing makes great coffee but every several months (or when I leave a pot of coffee in there too long without rinsing), it gets a funky stale coffee smell and the coffee starts to taste not-so-fresh. In comes the vinegar: I fill the reservoir with a ¼ to ½ cup of vinegar then fill it with water and run it. Let that sit and steam for about 20 minutes, dump and rinse the pot, then run a couple of hot water-only pots to rinse out the vinegar…the result? Great tasting coffee and no stale smell.
3. Neutralizing Cloth Diapers. This is a new one for me, but as you have probably read here, I am having a tough time lately with ammonia in my diapers. I’ve tried adding vinegar in the past to my cloth diaper laundry without much success, but just recently I thoroughly rinsed my inserts (there was a LOT of detergent suds left in there load after load). Afterwards, I ran a hot load and added vinegar to the rinse cycle to neutralize whatever was left of any urine in them. So far so good. Note: I have read that if you have hard water, vinegar could cause an extreme stink.
Actually, speaking of laundry and vinegar… you know when you run a load of clothes and then forget about it and let it sit there wet for a day or two? Oh. That’s just me? Okay, so just for my own knowledge then: I heard recently that running just a rinse cycle with vinegar removes that mildew smell. I’ve yet to try it, but it sounds good to me!
4. Shining the kitchen sink. I pour it on and let it sit on my white porcelain sink, then scrub with scouring pad and that stubborn white sink is fresh and clean. It’s good for the garbage disposal and drain too if you add a little baking soda.
5. Cleaning baby toys. I was slightly embarrassed recently when I realized how long it had been since I cleaned some of our toys. I just diluted some vinegar in hot water and soaked a bunch of them in the sink. Then just scrubbed a bit with a washcloth, rinsed and air-dried. Let’s just say I feel much better about them going in my baby’s mouth!
Please note that I’m talking about distilled white vinegar, not any other kind, especially not apple cider vinegar. If you use apple cider vinegar for any of these cleaning uses, you will not be happy with the results.
I personally like the smell of vinegar, it smells clean to me (and any smell is completely gone when the vinegar dries). But if you are bothered by the smell, I’m told you can buy essential oils to add to your vinegar that masks the vinegar-y smell. Try lemon or lavender. I’ve also seen scented vinegar available.
I know there are a bazillion uses for this amazing stuff and I am finding more all the time. I hope to try it for hair cleansing next.
What’s your favorite use for vinegar??
Sarah is a mom of two and blogs about her adventures in motherhood, cloth diapering and everything in between. Catch her “Cloth Diapering Unwrapped” series on the FuzziBunz blog every Tuesday.
Editor’s Note: Please note that FuzziBunz does not recommend using vinegar to clean cloth diapers, but we do love to share Sarah’s journey as she tells it!